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Written Statement - Devolution of Animal Health and Welfare Budgets from DEFRA

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Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs

Today I am able to announce the devolution of animal health and welfare budgets to the Welsh Assembly Government.

The powers for animal health and welfare have been devolved to Welsh Ministers since 2005 and therefore the transfer of these budgets aligns our policy making ability with the ability to direct more spending on the priorities relevant to Wales.

This announcement is the outcome of a long negotiation process involving governments across the UK. I am pleased to inform Members that the final settlement is not based on the usual 5.8% through the Barnett process but is more reflective of the needs and the work involved.  This secures a fairer settlement for Wales.

Over the 4 year Spending Review period of the settlement, Wales will receive around 14% of the GB budget that was previously held by DEFRA on behalf of England, Scotland and Wales. For 2011/12, Scotland and Wales will each receive £21million and England will receive £105m to spend on animal health and welfare.  Over the 4 years of the Comprehensive Spending Review period, Wales' share of the budget will amount to £77.71m, Scotland £76.98m and England £387.93m.

Whilst it is important that we now have the powers and the budget to tackle animal health priorities in Wales, we will of course continue to co-operate closely with administrations across the UK. Our ability to effectively manage exotic animal disease outbreaks anywhere across the UK depends on the coordinated action of Governments and the public sector, the agencies and the industry.  Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency will continue to deliver services for Wales as well as across the UK.

As I have recently announced, our work continues on our comprehensive approach to take forward our aim of eradicating bovine TB in Wales. Devolving these budgets will support and add value to the work already being undertaken as well as opening up new opportunities for engaging and working with industry to develop more Welsh specific policies.